Quickie Con Chaos

This month is crazy. One wedding down, another one to go. Final job interview on Thursday. Out and back in one day to Vegas for a work thing (which will be agonizing…) on Friday. So, not much dog stuff going on. Unfortunately.

We had one class last night before Laurie heads out for the USDAA games in Kentucky. Forest did well, my handling left something to be desired, but we were doing some tougher courses. Overall it went fine, neither here nor there. Worked a bit more on weaves and me driving them right to them, which made sense. He needs his hand held, so thats what I need to do. At least for now.

That’s about it. We found out we are getting booted out of our squatter pad in six months, which means I am already starting to freak and look for a house now. I dream of a backyard. Doesnt even need to be nice. Just big with a fence with no holes. I am a yard work addict, so no problems there. I/we can’t technically afford more than a one bedroom condo, but if new job happens it could definitely become more doable. I have already mentally checked out at work, which I realize is a massive no-no, especially as I dont have the new gig locked in yet. But, whatever. I will learn my lesson if it is due to be learned.

In the meantime, look at the fabric options I am considering for Forest and Diego’s matching crate covers!

Boredom begets brilliance… Right????

Things I Love Thursday, Take One

In the spirit of being positive, and maybe under the influence of a new “motivational” book I have been reading/working in, I am jumping on the “day of the week” posting themes with “Things I Love Thursday.” Hopefully we’ll stick with dog- and agility-related stuff, but I am sure I wont be able to resist throwing in some odds and ends as well. Here goes the virgin voyage:

Dogged Goodness:

Acana Grasslands Kibble — I have been experimenting with the boys, and so far this has been the best. Eating the food is never a problem in our house, its the exit that causes us issues. Mainly with Diego. Seems to come out all okay, no drama, and Diego’s coat looks especially amazing. (On a side note, I need to tape a huge reminder in the kitchen somewhere that says “Do Not Experiment with Diego’s Dinner.” I was all thinking I was super-dog-mom last night and cooked up a scrambled egg, canned salmon, brown rice and parsley omelette for them for dinner. It was scarfed up in seconds flat, with pitiful looks for second servings after. Yet, Diego was not a happy camper this morning and had his first ever accident in my office. Yay for scrubbing half-digested brown rice off of office carpet. My own fault.)

– Forest’s new collar from All Hounds Apparel — he has the tiger stripe one, rawr. It makes me feel better when he pulls on walks like a maniac.

– 2×2 weave training! — We aren’t really “done”, or even close to done, but I think it is going to be soooo hugely helpful in getting Forest to weave independently of me. He seems to really get it, and doesn’t seem at all confused (I was worried that he might be with already “knowing” how to weave, but no issues whatsoever.) Laurie also caught me babysitting his weave entries in class last week, so I need to work on that too. But, so far, I think this is going to make both of us way more confident. Hooray for “systems” that work.

Non-Dog Good Stuff:

mint.com — I have always sucked at managing my money. I pay bills on time, but I am no stranger to a bounced checking account either. Mint is free, online, and helps you track and manage your finances without a lot of effort. I am finding it pretty easy to keep up with, and its really helping me budget and visually see where I am spending too much money. (Ummm, are you shocked the number one red flag is my “Pets” category? Of which agility is a sub-category? Its not pretty, but at least I know I have a problem. Thats the first step, right?)

– hand-me-downs from my grandmother. People probably think I am creepy, but I love that I have been able to have a few things from Nanie that remind me of her on a daily basis. A few of her button-down shirts, necklaces and rings that I wear, a super-retro-regency dolphin soap dish I use for my jewelry, the cricket cage that my sister and I used to play with on the nightstand in the kids bedroom. It makes me feel like she is still around, and I know she would love for me to have those little pieces of her.

White Buffalo — going to see him tonight again, this time with a full band. I dont have much patience for shows these days, but for him, I do. Amazing.

Heading out to the Dogs Allowed to Be Dogs Place tomorrow evening for a car camp out. From there I have to get up and out reasonably early on Saturday AM for more wedding festivities. As in I have to make it from the remote campsite, to a shower and a hairdryer, and to a nice restaurant wearing—as per the invite—a purple or green outfit by 11:30am. Joy oh, joy, this will be fun. I think I can pull it off at this point, but, we’ll see how it goes.

Tired

The posting has been sparse unfortunately, due to my lack of motivation and energy. My plans of doing a Rally Fun Match with Diego were thwarted, and instead I had a weekend full of family bickering and post-grandparents aftermath. It is getting ugly. Over the stuff. There is a lot of stuff to be had and its just getting gross. I thought I could be a referee, but I have decided to bow out of that mess.

Diego and Forest, less-than-impressed with family drama as well. Side note–when we were kids, these were the “death stairs”. One wrong step and you were catapulting down the sheer drop, praying you didnt land on a concrete corner. Diego used them as his personal stairmaster this weekend.

That and we watched “Up in the Air” last night—which was a lovely movie but that, compounded with my weekend full of stuff-arguing makes me want to quit my job, throw the dogs in the car and get the hell out of Dodge. Where on earth we would go, not sure, but it would be nice. Maybe to Joshua Tree, or Hurricane or Buffalo, preferably with a Scamp in tow?

In agility news, Forest’s running Aframe contacts and 2x2s are both coming along nicely. I need to map out my Fall agility schedule now that we _hopefully_ should be out of the figurative heat by the end of next month. Though with how wonky this Summer has been we could have an endless heat wave into December…

I am going to start a Scamp fund.

Pop.

My grandfather passed last night. It was as good as it could have been, he was ready and we were all ready for him to go. The family was there with him, and I got to say goodbye.

I helped haul dear Lady–his ancient Chesapeake Bay Retriever–up the garden path and into the bedroom so he could touch her and she could be with him for a bit. He was gone mentally at that point but I hope he knew it was her. Even when his mind started to go, he still was always asking “Where’s Lady?”, and demanding and ordering everyone around, “Let Lady out!” He loved his dogs.

At Los Rios Rancho, sorting apples with Blue. 1980s.

My grandfather was undoubtedly the host of the DNA many of us acquired featuring the dog and horse bug. He grew up riding around the high deserts of Southern California, including on my great grandmother’s Yucca Loma guest ranch. During WWI she hosted many high-falutin’ LA types on her ranch, including some movie stars of the day. Family lore has it (or at least Pop told me, which means it was taken with a grain of salt) that as a teenager, he was driving Clark Gable around hunting rabbits from a car. They saw a rabbit and Pop slammed on the brakes, whereupon Clark Gable flew forward and knocked his teeth out on the dash. Whether or not that’s entirely true I have no idea, but its a good story regardless.

From the time I was born, and well, well before there was always a big lumbering hunting dog somewhere within spitting distance my grandfather. He had “gun dogs”. He loved them to death but wasnt much of a dog trainer. He was exceedingly nice to everyone, including his dogs, and never could see why my grandmother would get so infuriated by a Labrador tail clearing the coffee table or knocking over a small child. If you grew up in our family you were relatively dog savvy whether you cared to be or not.

He loaned me his old, handmade saddle when I wrangled dudes out in Wyoming after college for 3 years. Being a hunt seat bumpkin up until that point, I didnt know how nice of a rig it was until all the real cowboys started trying to buy it off of me. (No way you thieving bastards!!!)  I still have a gorgeous pair of braided roping reins I unearthed from one of his stashes. I need to go dust those off and clean them up.

He was always dressed, as long as he could get out of bed—which was really up until only a few weeks ago. Slacks, button down, bolo tie, cowboy boots. And if going out somewhere, a hat. And always ready to sneak us a $20 for gas money or just because. He was generous to a fault, and we all loved him for it.

Thanks Pop. We love you, will miss you, and are happy you are in a better place. Nanie will be glad to see you.

Unagility Trials

I learned a lot over the last week or so, most of it not having to do with dogs or agility…

– I learned that some parents will never stop parenting, even when their children are well into middle age. And that at some point, middle-aged kid has to say “enough”.
– I learned that Forest really, really likes lamb, especially when it is baited at the end of the dog walk for him to run to. “Super Speed Dog Walk”- brought to you by Lamb Chunks!
– I learned (again) that I am lucky to have a very down to earth family and sisters, and that our micro-dramas are nothing more than micro and silly.
– I learned that other people really do have a penchant for drama, even though they are 30 (or 40, or beyond). And that maybe that’s something you never really grow out of. Unfortunately.
– I learned that a cat can hiss and not actually be upset (assuming that a hiss while also being in a completely relaxed posture, no struggling, teeth or claws bared, means he’s just testing the waters or working for effect)
– I learned that some people think its okay/normal to take their 6 pound Chihuahua shopping in public stores, wandering unleashed and unsupervised, all over town without concern of the dog’s location or actions (Pete and I both separately encountered this women in 2 different places around town. We think she’s incredibly arrogant or incredibly stupid, we don’t know which.)
– I learned that Charlie Bear treats in excess are not good for two dogs whose owner has decided recently switch them over to an almost all protein–almost zero carb diet (sorry guys!).
– I learned that sometimes in life, you just gotta throw in the towel and walk away. Relationships are important, especially long-standing ones, but you gotta look out for your own sanity first. If its not working for you, its probably not working for anyone.
– I confirmed that regardless of what happens when I am there, I really, really, really am enamored with Palm Springs. My heart does flip flops when I drive around town there and I catch myself repeating over and over “I love it here I love it here I love it here I love it here…”. I have a desert problem.
– I learned that eggs left to boil on the stove in my favorite vintage enamel pot for an hour will actually explode once all the water is gone. And they smell like burnt hair. Charming.

Class tonight.

Sunday Funday (Takes a Lot of Work)

We had a decidedly non-dog-centric weekend. Sorry guys. I even had the chance to go to Club Practice on Saturday afternoon, but I shined it. We had a bunch of people come over for brunch yesterday morning and I bailed on practicing Forest’s weaves and distraction thresholds and bitchy MACH ladies in lieu of making quiche and scrubbing the deck. I don’t think Forest was too upset about it.

The weather is really starting to freakin’ annoy me. Its Summer. June Gloom is the norm, but that means it burns off. Its not burning off (that is unless you are at a trial in Escondido where you get convection-cooked), its staying freaking gloomy, wet and doomy. Good for agility, but not for enjoying the rest of my life.

Class tonight… Our attempts at playing and mat work at home have been less-than-stellar. He seems to have officially decided he hates anything agility-related at home. Which means I have to trick him into thinking we are not doing agility. Or maybe trick myself. Also been looking for a tunnel, but those things are stupid expensive. Cost of tunnel, plus new stuffable-food-tug, plus a crate fan and/or cool coat, equal agility being waaay more money than I should be spending. Oh, not to mention the new “agility-only” shoes I purchased last week. My attempts at managing my own personal budget are pathetic at best. At least the running contacts box should be cheap to make as my hired manual labor is free-fifty-free….

I did meet up with Pierre’s “guardian”—as they like to say in rescue circles—at the park on Saturday AM to finish up all his paperwork. His new dad is SO cute—loves him to death, brushes his teeth, takes him on runs and to the dog park, and even went home to pick him up and bring him back to the office when he had to work late last week. And, Pierre’s new name is “Dude”, which I would think was completely ridiculous, if one of my own nicknames for him hadn’t been “Little Dude”. It was great to see him, but man it makes me miss him worse! I do have to say Pierre/Dude was waaay more excited to see me than Forest, which I relished in. I miss the little bastard even though life is exponentially more manageable with two dogs than three.

Tech Dork Take 2 (Sort of Not Really Agility Related, But I Made it So…)

This could possibly be the coolest thing I’ve stumbled across in a while. And a massive time waster to boot! (It’s 4:09pm on Friday, of course…) I already geek out on word clouds as it is, but this one lets you make shapes and colors and insert your own text and why am I so excited?!?! Must be my love of fonts plus writing plus old artistic tendencies from another era resurfacing… SO. COOL.

Make your own at tagxedo.com.

UKI this weekend, looking forward to the Steeplechase–aka NO WEAVES!

At home we will be practicing our weaves this weekend and into infinity and beyond…